Daily Digest

Daily Digest 10/10 - The End Of The Future, U.S. Incomes Keep Falling, Miner's Stocks Glisten On Mongolia's Gold Backdown

Monday, October 10, 2011, 10:45 AM
  • Dear Occupy Wall Street: Focus on the People
  • The End Of The Future
  • Recession Officially Over, U.S. Incomes Kept Falling
  • US and Nato 'far from goals' in Afghanistan
  • We Are The 99 Percent - Even Rich People
  • Merkel Aims to Sign Rare Earths Deal With Mongolia Next Week
  • Miner's stocks glisten on Mongolia's gold backdown
  • Hiring Locally for Farm Work Is No Cure-All

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Economy

Dear Occupy Wall Street: Focus on the People (Jaime)

We will know that real change is taking place once Bill Black is put in charge of cleaning up the mess on Wall Street. There is no more qualified individual to do so, given the role he played following the Savings and Loan debacle, and what he has communicated since the crisis and the bailouts of individuals who committed enormous fraud. Bill Black must build the team that investigates the crimes that took place and then prosecutes those parties who broke the law. At the very top of Occupy Wall Street's demands should be that Bill Black be made a special prosecutor to take on the criminal enterprise that has strangled this country.

The End Of The Future (Brock H.)

When tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains. Consider the most literal instance of non-acceleration: We are no longer moving faster. The centuries-long acceleration of travel speeds — from ever-faster sailing ships in the 16th through 18th centuries, to the advent of ever-faster railroads in the 19th century, and ever-faster cars and airplanes in the 20th century — reversed with the decommissioning of the Concorde in 2003, to say nothing of the nightmarish delays caused by strikingly low-tech post-9/11 airport-security systems. Today’s advocates of space jets, lunar vacations, and the manned exploration of the solar system appear to hail from another planet. A faded 1964 Popular Science cover story — “Who’ll Fly You at 2,000 m.p.h.?” — barely recalls the dreams of a bygone age.

Recession Officially Over, U.S. Incomes Kept Falling (woodman)

The full 9.8 percent drop in income from the start of the recession to this June — the most recent month in the study — appears to be the largest in several decades, according to other Census Bureau data. Gordon W. Green Jr., who wrote the report with John F. Coder, called the decline “a significant reduction in the American standard of living.”

US and Nato 'far from goals' in Afghanistan (jdargis)

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, Gen McChrystal, who commanded coalition forces in 2009-10 before being forced to resign after a magazine interview, said the US and Nato allies were "a little better than" half way to achieving their military goals.

The most difficult task would be to create a legitimate government that ordinary Afghans could believe in and that would balance the influence of the Taliban, he said.

We Are The 99 Percent - Even Rich People (jdargis)

There is an obsession on the left—fueled by Barack Obama’s incompatible twin efforts to close an enormous budget gap and hold families making less than $250,000 per year harmless from tax increases—with soaking the super-rich. But if you truly believe that the government needs more revenue to provide valuable services, you need to look where the money is, and much of that’s in the top quintile (households making over $111,000) but outside the top 1 percent.

Merkel Aims to Sign Rare Earths Deal With Mongolia Next Week (Nickbert)

Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek to strike a deal on resources with the Mongolian government during a trip to Ulan Bator next week that secures access to rare-earth elements at fair prices, a German government official said.

Mongolia’s potential for rare earths is enormous and Germany is confident of reaching an outline agreement at government level that would allow companies to sign individual contracts ensuring access to the materials, the official told reporters in Berlin today on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be struck."

Miner's stocks glisten on Mongolia's gold backdown (Nickbert)

Rio Tinto and its partner in Mongolia, Ivanhoe Mines, have enjoyed strong gains on local and overseas markets after the Mongolian government backed down from its campaign to take a bigger slice of the nation's most lucrative mining project.

The mine is considered the world's biggest untapped copper resource, and will also be one of the world's top 15 gold mines once production hits full tilt."

Hiring Locally for Farm Work Is No Cure-All (jdargis)

“It is not an easy job,” said Kerry Mattics, 49, another H-2A farmer here in Olathe, who brought in only a third of his usual Mexican crew of 12 workers for his 50-acre fruit and vegetable farm, then struggled to make it through the season. “It’s outside, so if it’s wet, you’re wet, and if it’s hot you’re hot,” he said. Still, Mr. Mattics said, he can’t help feeling that people have gotten soft.

“They wanted that $10.50 an hour without doing very much,” he said. “I know people with college degrees, working for the school system and only making 11 bucks.”

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to dd@PeakProsperity.com. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

7 Comments

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
The Ponzi Scheme That Is Suburban America

When we think about unsustainable debt, we think of credit cards, the budget deficit, state and local retiree pension and health care liabilities.

But what about infrastructure liabilities? I never really gave much thought to our nation's crumbling infrastructure - we always see road construction crews doing repairs, and bridges built in the 1950s are still standing today.

Occasionally we hear about some rural county in Minnesota, grinding asphalt back into gravel roads... But I was rather blown away by a report that came out recently that asserts that suburban build-out is like a Ponzi scheme. Not in the sense that rising fuel prices will make driving long distance commutes more and more difficult. More in the sense that tax revenues - especially property taxes - are not enough to cover the eventual infrastructure repairs and rebuilds that will be needed after the service life of a road - or bridge, or sewer or water system - has reached an end.

Case studies and examples with slides and illustrations...

A Complete Guide To The Ponzi Scheme That Is Suburban America (October 7, 2011)
"...The mass migration from cities to suburban areas following World War II has seen two cycles of growth and maintenance. The first cycle was paid for outright, the second is heavily financed, and the third cycle is poised at the brink of an abyss. Like Bernie Madoff, city planners swapped long-term obligations for short-term cash, expanding at an unsustainable rate and developing land they could never afford to maintain."
http://www.businessinsider.com/suburban-america-ponzi-scheme-case-study-2011-10

Makes one think a little more about where to relocate, doesn't it?

Case study: "It will take almost 80-years for Afton, MN to pay for road repairs that will last only 25 years."

Case study: "A small town received support to build a sewer system from the federal government in the 1960s as part of a communi...ty investment program... but today the network requires complete replacement at a cost of $3.3 million. This is roughly $27,000 per family, which is also the median household income."

"Under the American pattern of growth the only way to pay for these projects is more growth..."

---------------------------

Note: The study referenced in the slide show above is by a group called Strong Towns. Their more-detailed study below:

The Growth Ponzi Scheme
"We often forget that the American pattern of suburban development is an experiment, one that has never been tried anywhere before. We assume it is the natural order because it is what we see all around us. But our own history -- let alone a tour of other parts of the world -- reveals a different reality. Across cultures, over thousands of years, people have traditionally built places scaled to the individual. It is only the last two generations that we have scaled places to the automobile."
http://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme/

The Curbside Chat Book, a PDF document to get started talking within the community (has stats, charts, etc.):
http://www.strongtowns.org/storage/reports/Curbside%20Chat%20Book-LO.pdf

Poet

P.S. - Cross-posted in Other News, Articles, Or Links Of Interest.

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 2579
Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 2302
The End of the Future.

"Rationality can be an important part of Reason, but only part. Reason is about holding sometimes incompatible elements in balance, a right hemisphere capacity which is highly prized among the Humanist scholars of the Renaissance. Rationality imposes an either/or on life which is far from reasonable."
Iain McGilchrist "The Master and his Emissary" pp 331

Due to the recent dominance of the model makeing Left hemisphere we have made a model of how we see the future unfolding and are sticking to the script as though it were reality itself.

Reason requires us to hold opposing views together. So the future can be both catastrophic and utopian and the whole spectrum in between.

Our greatest blessings come by way of madness, indeed of a madness that is heaven-sent.
‘Socrates’ on the Oracle of Delphi
in Phaedrus

From Ruby's piece.

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1025
Infrastructure replacement

Poet, you bring up an important issue which I have become familiar with from working with many communities to implement water and sewer improvements. Many communities are dependent now on low interest loans and grants to pay for improvements.  No communities are putting away enough capital reserves at a rate to meet total replacement at the end of life of existing systems, and the future cost will be greater due to more expensive energy and materials inflation.  

I recently was one of the presenters at a conference on funding infrastructure, where it was noted that downgrading US and municipal bonds may impact the low rates currently enjoyed, and future necessary budget cuts will cause grants to dry up, just as our needs are greater than ever.  My expectation is rates for water, sewer service etc are going to have to rise significantly; at least they are still generally relatively cheap compared to other utilities we won't live without today as telephone or cable or internet. Tom

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Thanks, Tom

Tom

Thanks for the additional insight. It's like civilization is facing the end of this craptastic overshoot and yep, there's yet another thing that's gonna go down the drain.

Poet

Woodman wrote:

Poet, you bring up an important issue which I have become familiar with from working with many communities to implement water and sewer improvements. Many communities are dependent now on low interest loans and grants to pay for improvements.  No communities are putting away enough capital reserves at a rate to meet total replacement at the end of life of existing systems, and the future cost will be greater due to more expensive energy and materials inflation.  

I recently was one of the presenters at a conference on funding infrastructure, where it was noted that downgrading US and municipal bonds may impact the low rates currently enjoyed, and future necessary budget cuts will cause grants to dry up, just as our needs are greater than ever.  My expectation is rates for water, sewer service etc are going to have to rise significantly; at least they are still generally relatively cheap compared to other utilities we won't live without today as telephone or cable or internet. Tom

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2735
infrastructure

I have had conversations with a couple groups of professionals in the electrical transmission industry recently.  Both stressed without being prompted the deplorable condition of our electrical infrastructure.  I don't even know how to begin calculating what upgrades to that system plus building whole new infrastructures for alternative power systems will cost.  It doesn't strike me that maintenance and eventual replacement costs are ever figured into proposed projects.

Doug

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1459
electrical infrastructure

Doug,

I hear the same thing. Our local (state-wide) elecrtical grid is actually ready to shut off from everywhere else if there is a cascasde failure. WE kept up our repairs and repair funds and have spare parts galore, but what we are connected to out-of-state is variously called swiss cheese or refered to as being held together by spit and bailing wire.

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